This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.
"Gen V adds a new generation of heart, guts (both in and out) and biting social commentary."
BY JACK RANSOM OCTOBER 2, 2023
A spin-off of Amazon’s gloriously debauched and brutal comic book adaptation TV show The Boys. Gen V introduces us to the students of Godolkin University. A place where young heroes push their limits to become the highest ranked in their school. However, when the layers begin to peel back revealing Godolkin’s dark underbelly, the students must step up and decide the type of heroes they are going to become.
As a huge fan of The Boys (and enjoying Diabolical), this was one of my most anticipated series of the year. I can’t deny that a few skeptical thoughts did whizz around my head: ‘Will this live up to the mainline show?’, ‘How prominent will Homelander and co’s influence be? And more importantly ‘Will the showrunners push the boundaries as much as the Butcher boys?”. Thankfully, the Pilot episode put my mind at ease very early on that we are in safe hands.
This review is for the first three episodes (all three of which arrived on September 29th), plot details will be sparse as I certainly don’t want to be spoiling any of the myriad of “Oh shit!” moments that have occurred so far. The show introduces us to Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair), an outsider freshman haunted by the inception and consequences of her powers, yet desperate to channel them into helping those in need. Gen V excels in layering on the excessive social media, click driven nature of the Supes’ world (with an added comic bite due to the youthful characters and student vibe) and seeing Marie’s journey as she becomes simultaneously warped by, confused and inquisitive about this obsession of fame over heroism.
The series touches on many heavier and, I imagine for some, very relatable topics. With self-harm and mental health playing an integral part to the execution of some of our main character’s power sets. Gender identity, sexuality, parental manipulation and greed, drug abuse… all are on display here and handled in a mature yet cutthroat manor. There are obviously tonal comparisons to be made with The Boys, and though it is intriguing, the mystery of what might be occurring underneath the glossy exterior has little genuine mystique to it. However, Gen V’s brazenly throwback ‘teen comedy/drama’ angle does help it stand out and features enough world building and references to nestle it into this Vaught driven world.
There are plenty of jaw-dropping, hilarious and schlocky moments that will be ingrained in my mind for a while. The more bloodthirsty of you viewers will not be disappointed, as the gore, guts and red arterial spray frequently drench the scene and there are a couple of hysterical ‘I can’t believe they went there’ moments that need to be seen to be believed. The action set pieces are solid if a little choppily executed in the quick cutting department and some of the weaker CGI is noticeably prominent at points.
The performances are good all around, the screenplay does feel a little on the nose and with smatterings of cringey YA dialogue, however it’s carried and elevated by the performers, especially in the more emotionally driven and darker parts. Both Jaz Sinclair and Lizze Broadway are the standouts, with Chance Pedromo, Maddie Phillips, London Thor, Derek Luh and Asa Germann delivering as the main supporting players. Shelley Conn and Clancy Brown add a calm gravitas to their performances.
Gen V adds a new generation of heart, guts (both in and out) and biting social commentary, as well as delivering familiar supes traits and tropes as expected from the world of The Boys. The bunch of new characters are likeable and interesting, the shocking imagery factor is through the roof and Godolkin Uni is a fun and engrossing locale for the story to play out. Great stuff, bring on the rest of the series!